Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Now Blogging at Patheos

Hello, gentle readers!

As some of you may have heard, I have been given the sincere privilege of being able to express my thoughts on Dan Arel's blog at Patheos, which is the premiere website for faith-based discussion on the web. Patheos is a remarkable platform for me to continue the god discussion and I am beyond grateful to have it. 

Many of my new blog posts you will see printed there, first. I will, after several days, take the time to copy them over to here. Those of you who follow me more assiduously would do best to look for timely work there. This website will remain active as a place for me to scribble my more immediate, personal, or off-topic thoughts -- and, again, Patheos blogs will make their way here after some time as well. 

I want to thank everyone who has so diligently followed the work that I've done here over the last two years, and I hope you follow me and some brilliant colleagues over at Patheos. The next act of this play is just beginning! 

Fondest Regards, 
J

Friday, January 9, 2015

Why The Inane Distraction of "Racism" Vis-A-Vis Paris Must Stop

I truly understand: there were a lot of feelings on Wednesday. Obviously, I expressed a few of my own -- without apology, I might add. 

But there is an increasing trend in the far Left that goes beyond mere apologist rhetoric for Islam, but counterpoints by calling all who criticize it "racist". This is obviously not a new tactic, though it is as cheap as it ever was -- especially after Ben Affleck impotently tried to indulge it against Sam Harris and Bill Maher last October. 

Since the Paris attacks on Wednesday, social media, blogs, and other outlets have been positively crammed with accusations toward atheists and those unsympathetic to the hurt feelings of Muslims when "blasphemy" is involved by calling our invective against their religion "racist". I won't beat a dead horse, gentle readers -- you know know why criticism against a series of ideas isn't racist and I won't belabor you with the point again. 

But now, the AQAP has specifically taken credit for the murder of Charlie Hedbo staff members, and their explanation will not come as a surprise to anyone with half a brain. 


(apologies for phone screenshot. Credit: Circa News App)


Enough is enough. The two days of constant badgering from religious apologists and neo-liberals claiming that criticism of religion is inseparable from criticism of the ethnic groups of people who believe in it must stop. The dialectic approach to the subject of religious terrorism has been proven correct more often than not. It was true in Copenhagen. It was true in Bamiyan. It was true for Theo van Gogh.  If the discussion is to progress anywhere to the level that it must in order for healing to begin and proper action to be taken, an observance of what religion is capable of must be properly had without silly distractions from those who are claiming a victimization on the basis of ideas they choose to defend. 

In other words, the far Left needs to stop hearing hoofbeats and thinking zebras. If it attacks a paper satirizing Islam (or any other free work committing what Islam considers blasphemy), if it kills those responsible, if it cried "Allahu Akbar!" and "We have avenged the prophet!" after the deed, it is most likely a religious terrorist given license to commit their heinous acts by the doctrines of Islam and shari'a. 

Saying so isn't racist. And how sad it is that a statement from these kinds of people are what gives us the platform on which to prove it. 

I am as much against racism as anyone else. When I see people committing it, trust me, I will be on your side. Until then, let's get back to talking about the horses. 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Damn You, Faith


(Artist without credit. Will add if someone sends me the name)


I am going to do the thing that no decent writer should do. I am not going to compose a response to the events in Paris, which, in any case, were so heinous that they defy composed description. I am not going to comment. In accordance with my sentiments on anger posted just the other day, I am going to give you an unadulterated, unrestrained expression of fury.

Damn you, all those responsible, directly and peripherally, for the deaths of Charlie Hebdo staff members. You and your ilk are that kind of Mohammedan scum that make the idea of a civilized society a struggle even for the imagination. Your slavish needs to serve your own salvation over the the living liberties you and your fellow men possess is the single greatest catalyst for evil in the known world. I cannot, in the inadequate prison of the English language, articulate to you the hatred you so desperately deserve. If hell existed, it was created for you and you alone. 

Damn you, all apologists on behalf of the ideology that makes such people possible -- specifically Glenn Greenwald, CJ Werleman, and the delusional ejaculations of other faithiests rushing to placate the other 1.6 billion followers of one of the world's worst collections of ideas. Surely, not all Muslims are terrorists, but Islam is responsible for the ideology that spurs all Muslim terrorists on their bloody quests. Islam is the source of this fixation on martyrdom, hatred of secularism, blindness to reality, and complete refusal to adopt a sense of humor. It is what gives them a license to destroy themselves and innocent people. If the grand majority of Muslims do not indulge in this kind of behavior, we are grateful -- but it is not because their faith doesn't give them permission to express the most sinister breeds of puerile revenge. Really, that kind of moderation is one step closer to the humanism that all people should embrace. Harris was right on this point: there is no such thing as an extremist. There are only those who execute the orders of their faith more succinctly than moderates.

Damn you, all hypocrites on the subject of faith at large: those praying for victims of religious violence; those maintaining a belief in a false god is responsible while espousing the mercy of their own; those who ignore Christian terrorism in favor of Islamic terrorism in the vain hope that it justifies their own brand of delusion; those faithful who think faith isn't responsible. Damn those who pray for the souls of those who would condemn them were the drawings of Jesus, instead. You have officially become part of the problem. You are, to varying extents, responsible. 

Damn you, finally, god. The irony is painful, but I'm now forced to directly engage other people's imaginary friend. For even absent of existence, your mere idea is so toxic that it has spawned an entropy spanning millennia, and more blood-shed than can ever be forgotten in the rest of our history as a species. I am so beyond sickened that this is the result of a fairy tale, that the amputation of our most innate rights of expression and the sudden execution of artists are the culmination of a fucking bed-time story. And damn you most of all if you existed, as no plan but the most selfish, mercurial, wasteful, and sadistic kind of capricious masturbation would explain your complete failure as a benevolent deity. 

As far as ideas go, "Charlie Hebdo" and those who made it died for an idea far greater than you. 

Monday, January 5, 2015

On Anger

You should be angry. You should be furious.

Tomi Ungerer said that anger and all its accessories is an excellent tool for inspiration. As a young man who lived through Alsace in the war and post-war years, he should know. Vitriol has always been a staple of making some truly provocative art, and everyone from John Osborne to Pussy Riot has proven it. 

But anger is more than just the fuel for aesthetic provocation. It is a remedy to antipathy. It is the catalyst for passion; the precursor to action. In anger, we find ourselves full of the fire that is sometimes necessary to make change. 

So, when many friends and more detractors criticize my invective against religion, they are far more often attacking my method than my message. But the truth, gentle readers, is that we have been presented with much to be angry about. It would be too easy to mention FGM, or that Texas approved textbooks that illustrate how Solomon and Moses were American Founding Fathers, perhaps. Holding a match to a bare nerve is torturous, but only lasts a long as the match. 

No, my friends, be angry in the same way you are hungry: satiated briefly, but flare again when need arises. And need has arisen. In the overwhelming struggle against theistic malice, even I have felt the temptation of simply not caring, because that would be so much easier than reading every new headline detailing yet again how our world is being dominated by the delusions of people whose primary goal is their own salvation. Even as I type it, I feel the burn again. 

So, no, friends. Do not go gently into that good night. Keep writing. Keep debating. Keep yourself alive with purpose -- and if anger is your tool, then so be it. But do not bow to those who think your invective is a therapeutic outlet as opposed to the dignified outrage that religion so rightly deserves. As long as I stay angry, I stay aware that something in this world is terribly wrong. 

Rage, rage against the dying of the light.